Asian Steamed Fish with Kale Sauté
January is at an end and I wonder how many resolutions you made but couldn’t keep. It’s very easy to get off track and indulge in a multitude of sins. But when the inevitable hangover comes and regret settles in, you may wonder if it was worth the splurge. I’ll try to make it easy. If you’ve resolved to eat well this year, this is for you: a dish your body will crave. The freshest fish is simply steamed and infused with fragrant aromatics that enhance its flavor and the delicacy of its flesh. Kale, my new best friend, is vibrant and green in a sauté with garlic and toasted sesame oil. Served over rice, this plate is at once tangy, savory, bright and gratifying. Your conscience will thank you.
This is totally crave worthy. The subtle flavors of cilantro, scallion and ginger permeate tender fish fillets as they gently steam. Any firm white-fleshed fish, like striped bass or branzino will work beautifully. The fillets are topped with a zingy sauce of ginger, soy, lemon and sesame oil and served with a quick sauté of kale and garlic, finished with a drizzle of that nutty, toasty sesame oil.
Prepare the aromatics for this dish. Peel a large knob of ginger: finely mince enough to fill a tablespoon and slice 4 thick pieces. Chop the whites of the scallions lengthwise into julienne; thinly slice the scallion greens. Pick the cilantro leaves from their stems and save them with the scallion greens; reserve the cilantro stems.
To make the sauce, heat oil in a small skillet over medium low heat. Add minced ginger and cook a minute or two until soft and fragrant.
In a small bowl, add the softened ginger and mix in soy sauce, lemon juice, sesame oil and a pinch of sugar.
Place a steamer insert or basket in a saucepan, which has an inch of water in the bottom. Make a bed for the fish in the steamer by laying out the scallion whites, cilantro stems and ginger slices.
Using a knife, slit the skin of each fillet several time on the bias. Season with kosher salt. Bring the water in the pan to a simmer and place the fish in the steamer. Cover and cook for 8 to 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the kale: I used a mixture of lacinato and curly kale, but use whatever variety you like. In a skillet, heat oil over a medium flame and sauté chopped garlic until softened, about 30 seconds. Add the chopped kale leaves and water; season with kosher salt. Cover and cook, stirring once or twice, for 2 to 4 minutes, until the leaves are wilted but still bright green. Drizzle with toasted sesame oil.
Carefully lift the fish fillets off the aromatic bed and plate over cooked rice, if you like. Spoon the sauce on top; sprinkle with the cilantro leaves and sliced scallion greens. Serve alongside the kale sauté.
Adapted from Bon Appétit
1 tablespoon minced peeled ginger, plus 4 thick slices
4 scallions, white part julienned, green part sliced
8 sprigs of cilantro, leaves picked, stems reserved
2 teaspoons canola or vegetable oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 6 ounce firm white fish fillets – striped bass or branzino works
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 bunch kale, leaves deribbed and cut into ribbons
1/4 cup water
toasted sesame oil to drizzle